For those who grew up in the ’90s, the smaller three networks (UPN, the WB/CW, and FOX) offered a refreshing change of pace from the mostly white prime-time viewing on the “big three” by focusing on more diverse programming. FOX, in particular, had what some referred to as “Black Thursday” – when every Thursday from 7-9 PM, Living Single, Martin, and New York Undercover ran in succession. Though both Living Single and Martin were pioneering in their own right for what they did to the culture, New York Undercover’s legacy is just as enduring but perhaps much more overlooked.

New York Undercover – which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year and ran for four seasons – was produced by Law & Order creator Dick Wolf and provided a hip, fresh approach to the TV crime drama. It catapulted the acting careers of Malik Yoba, Michael DeLorenzo, Lauren Velez, Michael Michele, and even Jonathan LaPaglia. It paid homage to the Black and Afro-Latino/Puerto Rican heritage that coursed through New York. And its soundtrack was even more engrossing than the characters and storylines themselves, often playing popular ’90s hip-hop songs throughout the episodes before closing with a “live performance” from an R&B or soul singer at the fictional nightclub Natalie’s.

But here’s an interesting tidbit: Tupac Shakur almost appeared on the short-lived series. For the new season of their Unsung: Hollywood series, TVOne is digging into the history of New York Undercover; and during their sit-down with Malik Yoba, the actor reveals how Tupac was invited on set and just barely missed a chance to be on the show.

Watch the clip up top and set your DVRs accordingly – the New York Undercover episode of Unsung: Hollywood airs on TVOne March 23rd at 8 PM EST.

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